Learned Helplessness: A Cage Called Harassment

Trigger warnings: frank talk about sexual acts, sexual violence, harassment, animal mistreatment, stalking, depression and mental illness, and “slut shaming.”

This post is intensely personal/raw.

My therapist leaned forward a little.

“There was an experiment a long time ago, one of the first ones they had done regarding anxiety. They put a dog in a cage. This was a long time ago, obviously, before…”

“Before they had ethical guidelines, right?”

“Right.”

“The put this dog in a cage and put a board in the cage, splitting in half. On the side the dog was on, they gave it shocks. Obviously there was a whole other side the cage the dog could be on, but the dog didn’t know. First, the dog started freaking out from the shocks, panicking, looking for a way out. After a while though, they noticed that the dog would just lay down and ignore the shocks. It had accepted it’s fate and gave up. That’s what they called learned helplessness. It’s when the brain gives up, basically. The anxiety is still there, but it is mostly just giving up and rolling over.”

I sat back a little in the couch. I had just described the kind of “plane circling the tower” feeling I got sometimes after a particularly bad anxiety attack, where it felt my brain just had given up. The sadness, rather than frantic arm-flailing, that’d fill me when I had to deal with the same problem I had been shouldering for the last three years. I’d sit in WoW and just stare at the screen, or lie on the couch and look up at the ceiling.

—-

My story isn’t really different from anyone else’s, really. Harassment, especially against women,  always seems to read off the same script.

I knew someone pretty well in WoW a while back, middle of Burning Crusade. I know it isn’t the best way to approach this, but I think of myself as a lot stupider back then. A lot more trusting. Less of an inclusive, smart person too. I was emotionally and sexually involved with this friend (as much as you can be in World of Warcraft). We’d level alts together, hang out in cities. I was single and a young lady. We often talked about sex and love. I even had cyber-sex and phone sex with this guy. I have no shame about those things. It’s stuff I did with quite a few people back then. Funny how we don’t bat an eye with the idea of a man having several women but women have to be discreet, lest people think they are a “slut.” When it came time to ultimately get off the horse of being single, they were not the sort of person I was looking for (and I ended up dating someone else.) This was pretty much high treason to the “friend” and so began the 3+ year odyssey that is still going on today.

First it was accusations that I was a whore, a slut, a lying, cheating no-good woman. That broke his heart. That made promises I couldn’t keep. There were IMs and IRC messages and hurt feelings all around while we still were in contact with eachother – my friends were not spared this. I even had my private business plastered onto the realm forums but had no idea it was him. Level 1 alts would show up to throw more insults at me, some true, some not.  All it centered around the idea of shaming me for being sexual.

Posts of mine and my friend’s kept turning up missing too – report abuse feature and the new way of forums being moderated meant that most of us had entire threads/posts deleted and even moving up the penalty volcano rather quickly. A good chunk of my friends from that time period were permabanned just due to how many times they got reported by this guy (or his cohorts.)

This went on for a while and then went quiet. I pretty much cut the guy out of my life and thought it was over. Until someone poked me in-game one day to tell me I was saying strange things in Trade Chat. I didn’t have trade chat turned on back then (I still keep it in a seperate window even now) and jumped in to notice a character that was very much like my name and off by only one letter. I have a very recognizable, very unique name (which is really a terrible idea as far as internet security goes), and this person was impersonating me. Saying really disgusting things about my character in trade, offering to do sexual things for people. This went on for 3 days – I had to get GMs involved, despite them being very little help up until that point with the forum abuse stuff. It was all hours too and I’d get whispers from people saying I offered them cyber-sex, that I was fat, etc.

GMs thankfully take public channels very seriously and started to get the ball rolling in that way. However, it took my boyfriend pretty much going to Mike Morhaime himself and getting in touch with the senior community manager to actually get one GM assigned to me for the duration of this process. I won’t name names, but they are still one of the most helpful people I’ve ever met, even if it is just their job.

Cutting out most of the harassment out of game turned out to be an easier task sometimes than when it started going into real life. My friends and I were still getting strange anonymous IRC whispers, so I stopped going to that server. I blocked incoming queries. This part of the story gets a little fuzzy, because I mean, how many times can someone say something insulting and gross to you before it becomes your daily routine.

I had to lock down my Livejournal, my twitter, any social networking. Various reasons have forced me to remove Facebook, but that was mostly my own criticisms of privacy and Facebook than anything else.

I had to deal with this person’s school because he was very obviously using their school internet to harassment on wow forums, and on my blog Empowered Fire (which he found). Their campus police went to his dorm building and warned him. The harassment stopped…for a while. It never really stops, least not in my case. They call it escalation – the person is more bold, more risk-taking, and definitely more dangerous.

He came back with a vengeance and his school was not very helpful in that regard. I had pretty much shut him out of most of my life but he still had access to the blog I ran with my friend. We’d get floods of comments. I mean like hundreds every couple of days and no real way to stop it. I never wanted to blog again. We had one of our raid-mates install something that would block him specifically but he was smart enough to figure out how it worked. And even my friend’s sites were getting hit. It was the beginning of a very dark period in my internet life, as I felt I had no place to go without feeling threatened. I was fielding comments that were sexually violent – hoping I’d choke on semen, that my vagina would be stapled shut, that they’d rape me and force me to keep the baby and kill us both. That they wished me dead.

The police finally got involved, despite my first couple of attempts being ignored or misunderstood. A very helpful officer finally came to our house, saw the actual PILES of evidence I had collected, the very real rape threats, etc. He called up my harasser finally and the guy confessed. I thought this was the end of it, but he came back again, this time threatening to come to my house. Police issued a ticket. The dust settled for a little while.

I quit blogging at that point. I couldn’t wake up every day and try to write down my feelings. I couldn’t even tell any of our fans what had happened. I was too scared. I turned into a recluse. Anxiety took over my life. I felt like he was watching over my shoulder. I felt like anything I’d reveal about myself would just be used as fodder to mock me. I didn’t want to leave the house.

I thought things would be fine, but then the harassment on Twitter started up again. Not only was it me, but it was anyone I’d tweet at. He’d skim anyone tweeting at me and insult them, tell them I was a fat slut. He had specific things he’d say so that I’d know it was him, as if it could be anyone else.

Last year I went through the process of filing a restraining order. I had to appear in court and my harasser had to phone in (because he lives in another state). I had to listen him smugly talk to the court commissioner and deny things that I had proof of him saying. He eventually confessed to the court commissioner that he had told the cop the year prior that he had been harassing me. Court commissioner, despite not understanding anything about the Internet or how it works, granted me a 4-year restraining order. It is the longest one you can receive in my state. I felt like I had won.

Until an hour later when my stalker had started attacking my friends on Twitter.

I decided that month that I wasn’t going to let him stop me from speaking out and blogging, regardless. But to feel “safe” I decided to adopt a nickname. I’d set up a different Twitter name and not give out my information to anyone. I’d keep it separate from my “actual self.” It was working until this weekend. Suddenly the same slimy, awful comments began appearing on my blog. The Twitter messages did too. Suddenly, that little bubble that I thought I had hidden and circumscribed with protections was popped. My web admin, the ineffable Vitaemachina, pulled me aside and told me to take a couple days off from reading my blog, my twitter or my e-mail. This is why I had originally approached him about taking my blog off WordPress –  I had wanted much more granular control over who had access to my blog. I wanted very strong comment moderation, double verification, all that jazz. It didn’t mean I was protected from the world, but it mean I had much more armor on. Feminist bloggers are targeted by a lot of very unstable people and deal with threats and harassment even if they don’t have mentally unstable stalkers. So I went on hiatus for a couple days while I collected my feelings.

Then I talked to my therapist on Tuesdays. See, I have one. I’ve been seeing him since last year because I have a lot of problems with past trauma (including this) and anxiety. I know that a lot of bloggers in the WoW sphere have talked about their mental illnesses, and I feel like I could have talked about it, but to leave all of this out would have done myself and my audience a real disservice. As Oestrus reminded me, this is something that fits my blog in all aspects. It’s one thing to talk about feminism and the need for equality and safety (especially in the gaming world)  and ignoring that I was suffering my own very personal reasons for wanting any of that. And I am suffering. But that is what therapy is for.

I ruminated on what my therapist had said. In that moment I felt like the dog in that experiment. That’s what harassment and abuse does to you. It forces you back into your mind, into the darkness. After a while you stop feeling it as intensely and it just becomes “your life.” This is my life, my dearest readers. It is a life that deals with a disgusting, abusive, unstoppable sack of meat that calls itself human. I have to clear out my Twitter mentions list every day, I have to read hurtful, vile comments about my genitalia, my weight, my income level, my social class, my gender, everything. I spend my days feeling so angry at the world, and when not angry, upset or anxious. I have to do all the work in this situation and it’s not fair. It’s not fair that I have to be the one hurt. I didn’t do anything wrong. It’s not my fault. I want to cry and throw things and rip apart the entire Universe until it stops existing. I want to stop being a woman. There’s days I don’t want to be alive at all.

I want to tell you that this story has a happy ending, but it’s still going on. I’m not sure if there is a light at the end of the tunnel for me, but I’m working at it. I have a wonderful partner, I have friends and a huge support network. People love me. I have you guys, my fans. I have life and health (sometimes) and a roof over my head.

There’s just so many easy ways into a woman’s psyche in our stupid fucked up world. It’s “normal” to feel threatened, ugly, fat or that you are a “slut.” But we don’t deserve it. We especially don’t deserve it it on the Internet. People shouldn’t be allowed to use anonymity to read out of the book of sexist threats without impunity. I’d love to say that there’s things we can do, but I honestly don’t know what those are other than bringing it up to the surface and exposing it to the light. That’s how harassers and abusers keep you quiet – they make you feel cut off from your support network. They push you into a cage and hope you learn how to be helpless. And given how many other things we suffer on a regular basis, it’s easy to do just that. There’s no real “safe spaces” in a lot of ways, especially with how the law and social media has barely caught up to how sinister the Internet can be.

I guess I’m just here to say you’re not alone if you’re being harassed. You’re not alone in the slightest. There’s so many of us. Talk to your friends. Talk to a trusted person in your life. Talk to the police (though whether or not they understand is another thing entirely). Talk to someone. Get a blog. Get a Twitter. And if you need to, stay away from the shit that makes you feel awful. No one is going to make you feel bad for protecting yourself. It’s hard to wake up every day and feel strong enough to deal with it.  But for me? I’ve been thinking about this for the last couple of days…

I’m not going to be shamed into silence. I’m not going to stop blogging, I’m not going to stop yelling and screaming and throwing a fit. I let this asshole do it once, I’m not going to do it again. I’m not going to stop until I die. I owe it to everyone to be the strong one. I have to do this for me and for everyone else who can’t.

 

If you or someone you know is being harassed or stalked online, I will be posting a guide about dealing with it and reporting it.

 

 

 

178 Responses

  1. Thank you for sharing. I am sorry you’ve gone through this, and I hope it gets better quickly.

    Feeling that you are alone is the worst thing ever; sharing this lets others know they aren’t alone, and you aren’t, either.

  2. You get tons of respect from me for posting this, it must have been so difficult. Don’t let this bastard shame you into silence. I’ve only been touched by this on the edges but I was aware that you and Beth were being long-term harassed. I was on the list of people who got tweeted at, vulgarities that I found disturbing and distasteful. I got them because I talked to Beth quite a bit on Twitter, and still do.

    I am so sorry that you have to deal with this. I only got like three tweets from this waste of oxygen, I couldn’t even imagine having to deal with this on a daily basis. I am grateful you returned to blogging, there’s a reason you got your PPI award. Don’t let him silence that voice.

    I hope he gets his due eventually, rather sooner than later.

    Mind if I share this post on G+? I feel it needs to be read, so I will do my best to get the word out.

    • Unbelievable. The courage it took you is unbelievable. Many of us have had a taste of this kind of harassment but this sick prick needs to be institutionalized.
      I’ve re-tweeted Vitae’s tweet, and tweeted this blog. I’d also like to G+ this, if you don’t mind. As horrible as your story is and truly, it’s horrifying that this level of harassment and sickness exists in our society, your story needs to be told. Again. and Again. and more until people are as disgusted with him as I am.
      You are strong and your friends are strong with you. Don’t forget that and for gods sake…. burn that damn cage. *hugs*

  3. I just can’t believe there are people out there that do this…I mean, what has to be wrong in someone’s head to make them think that this kind of cyber-bullying is ‘ok’? You always hear about these things but never think it would happen to someone you ‘know’ online, especially not someone as seemingly well-balanced as yourself.

    This may sound like a generic comment, but I really do wish you all the best, and hope that the police come down like a hammer on this guy, and people like him.

  4. Wonderful post. I’m sorry to hear about all the shit youve had to put up with. I feel so lucky that every time that I’ve had to break things off with a woman that I haven’t had to put up with this. This post helped me realize just how truly different a woman’s perspective is from a man’s — especially in sexual relationships. I’ve never been attacked because my heart was leading me in a different direction (well, not prolonged anyway) or used as some sort of weapon to attack my integrity. I’m sorry you’ve had to go through this, and I wish you the best.

    Stay strong and keep writing. You have important things to say.

    -Ken

  5. You are one of the strongest people I know and I am not exaggerating. To have gone through *continue to go through* what you’ve experienced and … return to the power you know you have.. Like Oestrus said, very proud of you. Please don’t stop blogging or talking to us. Your voice, everyone’s voice, is important. We need to hear it.

    We are here for you. We don’t always need to know details (although it is a precious gift to let us into your life this way, thank you). We may also not know the right things to say to make you feel better. But we’re here.

    Just remember, you’re a _good_ person. *hugs*

  6. I would loooooove to fight your stalker in a cage. Thank you for sharing this story that WILL have a happy ending. Stay strong. We will not take life laying down. I always say, “Bring it, world!”

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  8. Wow…I can’t believe this guy hasn’t given up after all this time. How long did it go on for? Sounds like years from your discription! I haven’t had to deal with anything to this extent, but I did have a stalked IRL boyfriend that was pretty scary. I remember he used to follow me around and slash my tires or whoever I was seeing’s tires. And he’d leave weird notes under my door as well! One time he sent me some creepy ass postcard that was post marked in Florida (I was in New England)!

    I do know how you feel though. I always try to be as secretive as I can because I don’t like the idea of internet peeps knowing who I am IRL. I can’t even imagine having to deal with what you’ve been through. My hub is pretty good at that whole computer whiz thing, maybe he can find out his info and make his life a living hell for once? Sorry I know I’ve always been a sucker for revenge >_<!

    Hang in there. Thanks for sharing :)

  9. As someone who finds it virtually impossible to talk/blog/write about personal issues, I just wanted to say I have so much respect for you.

    Also I cried.

    Thank you for writing it.

      • I am just starting to be able to “come out” about the abuse I am enduring. It is very hard to get to the point where we get out ‘voice’ back, whereas I used to be a person who would speak my mind easily. I got so used to not being believed, and the losses incurred each time I reported it. I am currently being impersonated online; but the harassment didnt start there. I went through all the typical workplace bullying stages which then turned to a full-scale mobbing, as the bully was of covert/manipulative type; thus it was easier for everyone to believe I had gone “crazy”. Eventually I became too ill to work (physical conditions as well as the stress/PTSD) and I took unpaid extended sick leave hopefully to recover and figure a solution; to get my usual proble-solving and analytical thinking back…. But that’s when the ONLINE abuse started. It has escalated; I dont see it stopping. My husband and I am impersonated on at least 25 sites. She created a porn profile in my username Lilydalelah and initially used my full data, first and last name, education history, locale and birthplace, optimized it for keywords, hobbies and interests associated as me, then once cached and indexed in google etc she removed the over-the-top data like legal name and colleges… stuff no one would ever put on a porn profile. But i remain associated with all the heinous nasty keywords .. but that was really just the beginning. Alot of the impersonation content directly attacks and negates my loving committed and completely monogamous relationship. There are disgusting ‘symptoms’ she posted on health forums as me… things that go along with the backstory that we are disgusting unethical and diseased promiscuous people… She posted “confessions” to grouphug.us as fictitious women claiming to have had drunken sex with my husband and claiming he is disgusted by me since i am “old as dirt” “ugly” and “retarded”. I am impersonated on lesbian sites claiming to prefer women, thereby negating validity of my committment to him. All of this leads collectively to a frightening backstory she had built, and I am certain she KNOWS I am aware and frightened. I do experience learned helplessness and have talked alit about feeling like that animal in a skinnerbox with shocks coming thru the grate but no matter how many times it presses the lever it doesnt stop. Seeking help leads to MORE torture. I have lost my job and my professional and personal credibility and support network. I have only my husband and his unwavering love and support (so no wonder the relatiinship seems the g

  10. I don’t know what to say. I don’t deal with clichés and well.. I have seen this happen before. Not necessarily to me, but somebody I called a friend. Sadly it was a very different situation to yours and she was.. not a nice person. So I don’t know to what extent her problem went, but I would never wish this upon anybody.

    You have such a loyal group of friends and supporters, I really hope that it’s enough to make this psycho finally get lost… *big hugs*

  11. You are stronger and braver than you might feel, some days. That this person has done this to you, is doing this to you, is nothing short of 100% unacceptable, and if there’s ever anything that we can do to help you end this madness then you just say the word.

    Keep fighting. Keep going on the good days, and know we’re here on the bad days. We will get you through this.

  12. I applaud you for your courage, seriously I do.

    You’re one of the most corageous people (and women) I’d ever met.

    Keep stong! You’re an example to all womankind.

  13. It takes amazing strength to perservere the way you have and then not only decide you’re not going to be kept caged, but help others out as wel l. My virtual hat is off to you.

  14. There are no words for this. That you have to go through this, that this person out there thinks it’s alright, it’s horrible. Nobody should ever have to experience this.

    I don’t really know you, (though I followed Empowered Fire once upon a time) but like many others also said – I’m here. We’ll try to help as much as we can.

  15. I’m a friend of Vitae’s, and I saw a link to this post on his Twitter.

    I don’t personally know you (though I think it would be a great pleasure to do so), but I can relate to you on so many levels. The anxiety, the depression, the insults… I’ve been through it too. I’m a very, very fragile person (I have a sparrow tattooed onto the back of my neck because my Grandmother used to call me her little sparrow – they have the most delicate bone structure of all birds) and I don’t take insults very well. (At least, not from people that know me. People that I’ve never met or never interacted with have no effect on me at all. They just don’t know anything to do any damage.)

    I guess… What I wanted to say is that I think you have a beautiful mind. I think you’re extremely resilient to deal with all of this garbage (and it takes a particularly trashy person to do display this sort of behavior) and I have the utmost respect for you. You’re still here, you’re still functioning, you’re putting your foot down and saying “NO.” You are brave, and I cannot express how much I admire you for that. I’m glad you’re fighting back against this atrocity of a person. I’m glad that you’re not going to surrender to this worthless creature.

    In a way, I pity him… I can’t imagine how rotten and dead he has to feel inside to do this kind of thing. I mean… If you simply dating someone else caused THIS kind of 3 year retaliation, my basic knowledge of psychology tells me that he’s angry with you for taking away the only source of affection he had… But make no mistake, this is no excuse for his excessively disgusting behavior. He needs to grow up, deal with his own issues instead of projecting them onto others, and start being something other than a reclusive, repetitive monster. He’s a coward and a weakling, Apple.

    It’s my firm belief that we experience the things that we do because it makes us stronger. With that strength, with our experience, with the knowledge we gain, we’re able to turn around and help someone that won’t be able to walk the same path without help. You’re turning this horrifying nightmare into a positive story about fighting back against bullying, you’re planting your feet and telling this jerk that you won’t stand for his harassment, and in a way, you’re kind of beating him at his own game.

    It’s obvious that he does this because he has serious issues within himself and he lashes out at you that you feel his pain rather than him dealing with it himself. It’s all a grotesque reflection of what’s growing inside him… It’s sad.

    Long story short, I’d like to tell you that although I don’t know you, I’m exceedingly proud of you. I know I’m a complete stranger right now, but if you ever find yourself without someone to talk to (although with your loving friends surrounding your blog with support, that seems nearly impossible, haha!) that there are people out there that, though they don’t know you, still care about you and want you to feel safe, happy, and secure.

    I’m very excited to see you taking these steps toward your freedom from this monster. You can, and will, do this – and you’ll succeed. There’s nothing he can do to pull you down if you don’t let him. <3

    – Megan (@MissPanderz)

  16. I truly hope this gives you strength, helps you when things get hard & dark, as they always do. You are not alone. We are fighting this, each of us. If we could, if there was a way, to bond together to fight the abusers, we would… but it doesn’t work that way.

    At this time in my life, they have me down. Not a day goes by that I don’t wish for a terminal diagnosis. I promised friends I won’t try suicide, again. It’s hard not to. As many people tell me how talented, smart, capable, and beautiful I am, the voice “stupid slut” or the betrayal of my utmost trust — those are the ones that ring loudest. My father started it, my mother okays it, and to trust anyone since… it is a heavy gift they receive. When they shit on it,… and even the day-to-day abuses we deal with as females, those are louder, because… well, I think, those I can do something about. Those I can fight hellahard on… because they’re not personal & I don’t care about the fncker, but once I love & trust, & it is betrayed… once I trust someone to respect my boundaries, and they disrespect it, I want to die.

    Yes, I have a therapist. I know where my boundaries are. I have revenge fantasies, but know the difference: all emotions and thoughts are valid. Not all actions are valid.

    Be strong, know you are not alone.

    You are more beautiful & powerful for sharing this. Thank you!

  17. I’m very impressed that you have the courage to keep speaking out. I have friends who have undergone similar experiences, and I know just how horrific it can be – it takes a lot of guts to respond like this.

    I’ll be featuring this and your follow-up article when you write it as a piece on the Melting Pot. It’s an important issue, and a guide to responding and dealing with harassment will be very, very useful for a lot of people.

    • Sadly, that wouldn’t really fix anything. We need to not harass people in general, as much as I love revenge fantasies.

      • Yeah, but who has been harassing whom? Out the guy, post the evidence publicly, and keep it up until he backs off. Unless he’s at the Burger King cashier echelon of employment, he will not get a job for being such a creep.

        Ugh. Thank you for sharing. I hope you can press charges somehow, though. This is beyond the pale, and he does not deserve your forbearance.

        • It’s hard enough to get police to take internet harassment seriously without turning it into a brawl. Harassing someone “back” in order to deal with your harassment doesn’t actually accomplish anything, and it furnishes the abuser with a really solid defense in the even of further legal trouble.

      • This… as much is revenge may feel sweet, harassment must stop.

        Mostly though, thank you for this. Your courage is amazing, your honesty moving and your strength monumental.

        I am a better person today because of your courage. You will never know the complete impact of your moving courage.

        Be well, stay strong and know that there are folks who want you safe.

        Peace!

  18. I only know you from the posts on I see of yours on Twitter, and I’m sure you don’t know who I am, but I just wanted to say that I commend you for putting this out there for us to see. I can only assume the strength it took for you to write this all out. As a son who’s mother went through this kind of abuse for years, only able to stand idly by, I can only attempt to sympathize. I think this is very brave, and I encourage you to keep fighting the good fight. Thanks.

  19. As I sit down at my desk after walking to work because my car won’t start and Sarah’s car is wrecked, I think about how this has been on of the most consistently bad 7 days of my life. And, yet, I still don’t think it could even come remotely close to what you have described here.

    Stay strong, and if there’s ever anythings, ANYTHING, I can do to help you, let me know.

    :hugs:

  20. I am so very proud of you too. I know it takes a lot out of you to write this all out. I myself have issues going on somewhat like this, but different circumstances of course.

    I have also been harrassed in game & immediately got the GM’s involved. I know these issues are there & yes it’s scarey but we just have to keep moving on with our lives & be strong about it. I also took on a new persona to hide my true self.

    If you need someone to talk to, I’m here & you know where to find me. You are not alone here, believe me.

    Many Hugs!

  21. Aymee tossed me a link, and let me just say: what the actual fuck?

    That the degree of positivity inherent to sexuality is somehow gender-dependant is such utter and immense bullshit. Slut shaming lights every single furnace of hatred and anger that is left in my body.

    You, lady, kick ass for powering through, and I hope you keep that the heck up!

  22. I am so sorry that you have had to go through this. May you have strength, support, and love as you deal with the consequences of this other person’s actions.

    Thank you for sharing. “People” think these things don’t happen, and sadly, they’re wrong.

  23. It’s completely shameful that people act in this way. I wish we all could get together and give a physical presence to the support that you have from us. Nobody should feel alone and isolated over such things, ever.

    I think the idea of a permenant page listing resources relevant to dealing with harassment – in and out of game – is a great idea. In particular, every MMO may possibly have contact points just for such things. Sadly, it doesn’t sound like WoW has this as of yet. But it really needs to be a thing. There should be one point of contact to expedite harassment issues in game.

    Hang in there!

  24. I can’t even begin to imagine how the mind of a stalker works. No sane person bothers spending this much time continuously harassing someone just because they turned them down, he’s pathetic.

    Not letting yourself become oppressed by his vile behavior is the right thing to do, and I hope speaking up about it is empowering to you!
    I wish you all the best in combating this ongoing horrific experience.

  25. The single-mindedness of this guy astonishes me. As has been said, I applaud your strength in posting this and bringing it to light. Having gotten to meet you at Blizzcon, and having seen first hand the smallest piece of the vitriol this guy can spew at anyone and everyone connected to you, I have the utmost respect for you, and I’m glad that I’ve gotten to know you.

  26. Thank you for sharing your story- I’m so sorry you had to go through that. Thank you for not letting yourself be silenced. Only when the whole damn issue is dragged out into the light will we ever make any progress with it.

  27. This makes me so saddened and sickened to hear that despite every precaution, it is still going on. I remember when I was being targeted by a RL friend (I believe I came to you specifically for help on it) and I truly thought they would slip between the claws of the system and continue their harassment. I remembered how it seemed near impossible that anyone was going to do anything to help you out since they just kept getting bolder and bolder.

    One thing that kept me from letting the anxiety and fear take over (at least, regarding being stalked/the death threats/harassment) was your strength. Everything I read or we talked about – I knew you were upset and stressed and scared but you had a strength where you never once gave up. That was something that kept my head up and helped me take a deep breath and deal with what was going on with my situation.

    So thank you for that, and for the countless times you’ve told someone in a difficult situation that it isn’t their fault, they should seek help and it can get better. You don’t deserve any of the bad that’s happened to you; and you’re still by far, one of the strongest women I’ve known and I admire that so much <3

  28. Wow, that is… crazy. Like, CRAZY crazy. I cannot imagine what would drive a person to act that way.

    Really sorry you have to deal with this. Terrible. :(

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  31. wow idk what to say. i found your post on triple b’s site. fuck
    a woman should be allowed to be sexually active like a man.
    but should be protected. im an old man. idk what to say. id love to back you.
    but im prob no more competent then the cops on that.
    alot of peope think you have been wronged. if i can help in any way ask

  32. Came here from the Border House blog.

    I wish I had something to say more than I am appalled at what you have had to deal with, and that I admire you for your courage in speaking out and your tenacity in enduring it. All I can think to say is that every day you persevere is a day you win, and I’m happy to publicly stand on your side.

    @vaxjedi

  33. Hi there!

    Sent over from the BBB’s blog…….amazing story of shite…….If you were a friend of mine….in “real life” ………this fellow would have disappeared a long time ago……in NV we have several abandoned mines that people fall into on a regular basis…..sweeping expanses of desert that aren’t visited by a human for decades………and a few really really deep lakes. I’m sorrythat there are people that get satisfaction out of doing things like this. Keep the faith…..not everyone is a super douche!! Be strong girl!

    • This was kind of my first angry thought about this guy to. In part of my “world” guys like this don’t disappear, they get made an example of so that no one ever wants to do it again. However,…
      I think what Apple Cider is doing is more effective and much more needed. As much as I’d like to squish this one guy under the front tire of my bike… and all my friends’ bikes… Apple has started something that may take longer, but will squish this kind of harassment from impacting others’ lives, as much as it has hers.
      The more people out there that know and are aware, the more people who will watch out for this with not only themselves, but their guildies, their arena mates, their gaming buds, their neighbours and their friends/family.
      While many could quietly silence this guy forever, Apple has started a War Cry that may be able to silence them all and eventually remove this kind of thing from our Society. I love our Internet and am geeky to the core, having this trash on our internet and capable of being on our internet, infuriates me.

      But yea… the squish would be oh so satisfying wouldn’t it :)

  34. Came here from a re-tweet, re-tweeted in turn.

    Thank you for sharing this story, Apple Cider, and my deepest sympathies. Nobody should ever have to put up with this.

    We have failed you, and those like you on so many levels, from the judiciary, law enforcement, Blizzard, society as men and as humans.

    I hope this can be resolved with the minimum of further trouble.

    Good luck.

  35. You’re an awesome, brave, wonderful person. Don’t ever stop thinking that, no matter what that asshat says. Thank you for sharing this: you’ll be in my thoughts.

  36. You’re loved by your fans. You will always have my utmost respect and support. Whatever I can do to keep your spirits high and help you promote awareness of these kinds of crimes, I’ll do my best. Thank you for sharing. You have the heart of a lion.

  37. This is the first thing I read this morning.

    I had no words then.

    Eight hours later I am still lost for words.

    The best I can give is that you, and any in your position, have my unconditional support.

    For you I have nothing but respect, for not just weathering an ongoing storm, but reaching out to increase the understanding of other and inform those in a similar situation.

    May your stalker disappear and the happiness you find in the rest of your life eclipse the memories of this fool.

  38. It seems almost too simple to say ‘thank you.’ But it’s merited, richly. “Suffering in silence” is a condition common to all oppressions, but with women and girls in particular it becomes a special requirement. We mustn’t be too loud, too threatening, too whiny. It makes the simple act of speaking a radical act, it makes the slightest suggestion that our experience is real a *radical* suggestion, and you remind us why that is.

    In my own life I’ve had a lot of things I, for a long time, refused to talk about. We live with the burden of this notion of privacy which, on even rudimentary examination, serves the interests of the powerful. When my father hurt me, it was okay because it was “family business,” our private affair. But where was my privacy? Where was my safe, magic circle? Was “private” just another name for the space where my father could hurt my mother and me?

    I still have a hard time talking about it for so many fucked up reasons, it’s why the foregoing paragraph is thick with euphemism. All the little reasons flag in the back of my mind: “it wasn’t so bad” “he’s still your father” “other people went through *way* worse” and so on. It’s learned helplessness, as you say.

    And I am a woman who can stand up and speak loudly, who is proud of holding onto a strong, forthright voice. Yet I can’t say this. It’s why I have argued many times that speaking out is a radical act, why consciousness raising and its central proposition that “the personal is political” still matters and is vital.

    This may seem a little, well… But you’re my hero for speaking out about this. You are, and I thank you. Every time I see a sister stand up and speak out, she reminds me I can too. That my voice matters, that we all matter, that we are in this together– even if it doesn’t always feel that way.

    You’re always welcome with us misfits at The Border House, and I salute you. ::hugs:: Thank you.

    • I’m really proud that Borderhouse has been behind me so strongly and I consider it really amazingly good company. There’s definitely things in my life I’ve not spoken about except in therapy and I felt like , while those things are not appropriate for here, that this was. I want everyone to know, I want this to stop hanging over my head. I want the power of my abuser taken away. I want everyone to feel supported and amongst others like them. I want to take what spoons I have today and make my voice go as far as possible.

      Thank you to the entire BH blog crew for giving me that ability.

      • Really, the mere fact that you have come back to blogging in general is a courageous act after he has tried to scare you away from it. He tried to destroy it for you, tried to destroy any form of publicly existing on the internet for you, and you did not let him. And you will not.

        And for that, you are one of the bravest people I know.

  39. I’m old enough, and now sad enough, to see that people still don’t get it. The Rus* L**mbaughs of the world and the inquisition of hatred that continues keeps us mired and hobbled, and (attempt to keep) a beautiful soul like you in a cage. Thank you for sharing your story. I personally know friends who have similar ones: violence, rape, abuse, and harrassment. I am shaking with rage because you have this insanity in your life that you did not create, ask for, or deserve. Psychopaths abound, and must be stopped.

    The dangers you are facing are very real. Keep safe, keep fighting, and blessings. When will the laws catch up with reality? I have hope because of your bravery. A hero indeed.

  40. You are a hero. I’m amazed, thrilled and beyond impressed by your strength and integrity. Speak, share your spirit- there are so many of us who cherish your words, celebrate your triumphs and pray for you in your trials.

  41. came in from livejournal; I can’t really add much except for support. It makes me so angry on your behalf that you have to live with this, that so many woman have to deal with this just because some man-child has his feelings hurt and he never learned to grow up. or learn empathy, or decency or any of the things that make us decent human beings. I really, really hope (and pray) that this reaches a conclusion and there will be a day that you will be without those worries and anxious feelings. Until then, you have my support. fight on, sistah!

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  43. I hope someday this person comes to their senses and stops doing this, cynically I don’t think this is likely, maybe they will fall into an oubliette . One can hope. It’s good that you have supportive people around you, I hope things get better, it’s quite brave of you posting publicly about this.

    I was stalked in RL by a boyfriend I had in high school for 17 years, and it left me with some really strange behaviours and social anxiety to the point of not leaving my house. My therapist, medication, family and the fact he died have helped though.

    I’m still sad though, how many people will not take something like this seriously, tell you to grow a backbone and it’s only words or they are a really nice person just don’t take it seriously. Because people’s lives are affected by these sorts of things.

  44. I came here from Border House and I want to thank you for speaking up. I have not yet experienced a rl stalker but I did have a few people forum-stalk me in WoW, posting gender-based insults and such–nowhere near as bad as what happened to you but still unpleasant. The helplessness and anger I felt gave me clarity and understanding about the world we live in and how important it is to speak up and support each other. I don’t know you except through this post but I’m proud to give you whatever support I can and stand by you openly. I’m on your side, and I am proud of you!

  45. Courage.
    It’s a word that’s often used, but I think we sometimes forgt the meaning of it.
    You’ve shown true courage by posting this, and I hope you understand that you’ve beaten your tormentor. You have refused to give him power over you life, and I applaud you.

  46. Came here from BBB’s blog…and will be sharing this around. Stay positive and stay strong. You have a whole community of support. I’d say use it…but with this post, you definitely are.

    Thank you for the courage it took to open this very personal hell up to the public. There are so many more who suffer in silence. It’s what bullies expect…it’s what they get off on. Shine a little light, and most cowards run like roaches. You have too much to share and do to live in the dark.

    This was my first visit here. I will be back. Thank you, again.

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  48. Thumbs up! Such a struggle! And to share it with the rest of us is pure courage!

    I went here from Big Bears’ Blog….and I am glad I did!

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  50. This story is as inspiring as it is sad. I admire you deeply for standing up, and keeping going. I’ve never experienced anything like this in my life, but I’ve known people who have (my life’s blessing becomes a spur to my duty – i have been lucky – so i use my own stability to help those close to me who are not so – I’ve been through the wringer on someone elses behalf a few times.)

    the helplessness, the giving up and accepting. A person who forces that upon another is to be pitied at best, because for all that they convince themselves of being the ‘hurt’ party. They have no humanity, they infect others with their spite and bile, and fling it everywhere they think it will stick. There is nothing human in what they do, and no excuse or reasoning for it can ever be given – because any excuse given is the product of self delusion and self justification, nothing to do with the outside world at all.

    You’re an inspiration, BBB ‘sent’ me over here, and I will be returning. I like the way you write, I admire your courage in this (as do so many others) and even more I admire that you’ve risen above recrimination and vengeance (outside of your own head), choosing instead a path of enlightening and educating others. For that you have my utmost respect.

    • just want to add – I don’t know you, and never read your blog before today. But after reading this, I wish I did, and I wish I had.

      Though it’s easier said than done, the best thing you can do is what you do now. Letting the hateful [fill in obscene insult of your choice]’s comments slide off into the void, standing up and doing your damnedest to not only not let it get to you, but to channel what he does to you into something positive. Still takes guts to do though, it’s great to see the support from people in the blogging and blog reading community coming in – 2 of the blogs i read have posts pointing here (BBB and Mana Obscura) and I’m guessing they won’t be the only ones.

      Keep your head up, Keep smiling, and keep writing.

      Take care :)

  51. From an Apple to an Apple, I am so amazingly proud of you. I remember some of the comments you got on EF when I had that guest post, and some of the comments I got briefly after that. They were horrible. That you are brave enough to put this all out there… it’s amazing. YOU are amazing.

    If there is anything I can do to help, even if it’s just digging up pictures of adorable baby animals when you’re having a bad day or something, please please PLEASE let me know. Hit me up on twitter, whatever. You are a lovely person and I hate that this sack of shit is still doing this to you.

  52. Having felt a very very little on internet harassment (at least in comparison) and knowing how much it ruined everything else in my daily life. I can very much sympathize.
    I just hope that you – when you are feeling down – will remember this post, and all of these wonderful replies, and remember that this is just one person doing this, but behind every single comment here, is a person who feels the excact opposite about you.

    Fantastic post.

  53. It took a lot of courage to write this post, and the stream of positive comments shows just what a huge support network you have out there to counter crap from someone like him.

    You have so many people following your blog, talking to you on twitter and so on that all the positive stuff should easily outweigh the negative you get from someone who clearly has some very serious and deep seated issues over control, women, and god only knows what else.

    This kind of thing starts to lose it’s power over you if it gets spread around your friends and such, and people can help you take action against it, laugh at it or just ignore it.

    Hopefully you will get it fully resolved and finally be free of it and him.

    *hugs*

  54. I read this earlier and really didn’t know what to say.

    All I know is that it isn’t right and that you’ve got the support of people here if you need it. :)

    Of course, it took a while, but now I do have something to say, but it’s on a tangent from your situation so I’ll just write it on one of my blogs when I get the chance.

    That said, take care. :)

  55. Keep your head up Apple Cider! You are definitely on the right path to overcoming a sadistic outlasting from nothing more than someone who is so angry with himself that he preys on others. His day will come and he will reap everything he sows.

    I assure you, your strong foot forward by speaking up is literally crushing his pathetic mind games. So stay strong and move on.

  56. I don’t know you, I’ve found this site really by chance, so for what I know this could even be a piece of a rpg.
    But I feel the urge to say (at least): “Be strong! You’re not alone and you’ve nothing wrong, be sure of this”.

  57. Hi, followed a link here from Border House. Can I just say you’re really brave and this post is both harrowing and inspiring. As someone who gets super-anxious when I get even just a couple of rude or abusive comments, my heart goes out to you.

    As Catherine Pearce says above: “Don’t ever stop speaking out. The challenge for all of us it to match your strength.”

  58. This is the first time I have been to this corner of Cyberspace. BBB, a blogger whom I read everyday, posted a link to this story.

    Thank you for sharing this situation. You present a very strong face, and an incredible strength of character in the post and the comments. Strength to you, every day.

  59. I’m blessed that I know such an amazingly strong, beautiful person as you. <3

    And I'm proud of the community here, the outpouring of support for you and others that have suffered similarly is heartwarming and reminds me that the world isn't completely full of creepers and jerks.

  60. I already said something on Twitter, but I wanted to add to the massive stream of support. I sincerely respect and adore you for writing this post. Thank you so much.

  61. I am honored to have read this. Thank you for this amazing post and for your strength and inspiration. I am saddened by what you are going through, but encouraged by how you are working through it. Thanks also to BBB for spreading the word to me.

  62. I cannot express how much admiration I have for you right now, nor how much loathing I have for your abuser.

    No-one should ever have to go through what you are going through and have gone through. I could go on at length about how pathetic your abuser is, but it is far more logical to focus on you, and how wonderful, brave and beautiful you are as a person. Don’t let yourself believe otherwise, and please, please keep doing what you do. I can only imagine how hard it is for you to keep writing at times, but the blogosphere would be a darker place without your unique light.

    *hug*

  63. I followed followed the link to your post from BBB.

    This is an amazing post, and I am sorry sorry you have had to go through this; you have done nothing wrong. Stay strong and don’t let these horrible events control the direction of your life!

  64. Pingback: A War Cry against Internet Harassment « L2Resto

  65. Hey, I saw this post on WL. I really admire your courage and strength to speak up about all this. I sincerely hope that your menace faces harsh karmic retribution and that you may be freed of this crap.

  66. I just wanted to add to the list of comments and support – you’re awesome. It’s easier said than done, but I hope you’re able to keep these vile comments from affecting you.

    Keep writing and I wish you the best of luck in your fight against this harassment.

  67. Followed the link from Border House Blog. Thank you for sharing your experience and wanting to help others in the same terrible situation. What I don’t understand is why the guy isn’t in jail. He had a restraining order, and he broke it.

    • I’m not going to go into details for my own reasons, but basically the law is considerably behind technology right now in terms of resources and understanding.

  68. It is so easy for people to forget right from wrong on the internet. I don’t understand that. For me, I strive harder to adhere to those lessons we learned at my parent’s side and in Kindergarten.

    You have my complete support and eternal encouragement. I wish you only the best in the future and I hope that your … stalker … finds the help they so clearly need.

    I realize that might seem like an easy thing to say but it’s taken the walking of a dark path and many hours on a therapists couch to say it. Others call it wussing out, I call it personal growth.

    Stay strong and try to always remember: You Are The Better Person!

    And thank you to BBB for encouraging his readers to read this post.

  69. Wow, that guys doesn’t just need a restraining order, he needs serious psychological help. I can even begin to see where this guy is coming from.

    I’m lucky in that I’ve not experienced much internet harassment, but I’ve known a few people who have hada terrible time. I wish the law would catch up the times a little with these things.

    *Hugs* I think you are very brave, and the guy harassing you is a coward and bully of the lowest order.

  70. It baffles me how anyone can be so inhuman, so obsessed.

    I applaud you for talking to us, the denizens of the internet (no matter how slimy it could get). A friend linked me to this from facebook, and I had already tweeted it.

    There are times I had called myself desensitised from suffering but this – this is something else. I empathise with you, I wish there was something I could do to help beyond just reblogging this.

    I hope this sack of meat finds his own comeuppance or finds some real psychological help.

  71. Well I, for one, have mad respect for you. It takes a lot to speak out against abuse and you are a very strong person for doing this. You said you play/played WoW now whether or not you played Horde or Alliance doesn’t matter because the message I want to leave for you is all the same no matter what ears hear it.

    LOK’TAR SISTER!

    Victory, this is your victory keep fighting and snuff out this coward.

  72. The RL name of this guy is not Rush Limbaugh by any chance ;-)
    Well good on you mate for standing up for sanity in addition to your rights as a woman. Your tormentor seems to have very serious mental health issues, good thing your relationship was strictly over the internet.
    Take care,
    Ruk

  73. this is a wonderful thing you’ve posted. I spent 18 months living with a manipulative monster who stalked me for some time after I managed to escape his clutches. we met playing games online, too. even during the relationship I kept thinking, “I can’t believe I live like this. this is wrong.” but I was too scared to get away. I didn’t want to use my real info on the Internet for the longest time after that, but eventually I said fuck it. I’m not letting him take away my goals and dreams anymore. you are unspeakably brave for putting this out in the open and standing up for all harassed women out there.

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  75. Well done for standing up to him. You’re amazing. I hope there is a day, one day, when women don’t have to deal with this crap.

    From BBB.

  76. I’ve never read your blog before, and don’t know anything about who you are, but your story is touching strangers across the internet and inspiring thought, rage, and empathy. This more than anything is a testament to the good you’re doing for yourself, and for others. In time, this will tip the scales, and the weight of his harassment will too grow lighter and lighter. I hope that day comes soon.

  77. I’m here from LJ, and I just wanted to come here and applaud your courage for posting such a raw and heartfelt piece. I truly hope you will rise above this and show that bastard that he isn’t going to drag you down.

  78. Long time lurker, first time commenter: thank you for your courage to write this, and your later guide on how to deal with it. Talk out, keep writing, keep fighting, and congratulations. You are awesome and a courageous inspiration.

  79. ACM,
    There’s very little I can add to the extensive list of comments this post generated other than a little reinforcement of things already said. It’s amazing how completely inept every group of so-called “protectors” in our lives are at their bottom levels. It unfortunately takes far too much to get outsiders to understand the nature of harassment. While I’ve never encountered anything like what you’ve described here, the overt sexual nature of the abuse, I was violently bullied when I was younger, so I have at least some lesser-but-similar understanding of what it’s like to live in fear of your own daily life.

    School for me was absolute hell until middle school, when i finally snapped and basically just started fighting folks. I had fought before that, but only as a last resort. It got pretty bad for me for a while and there were a lot of parent phone calls and the like. I had groups of kids show up at my house – numbering 5-10 at times – that I could only scare off by bringing one of my father’s shotguns down and pointing it at them.

    It seems ridiculous now, and I certainly have learned to moderate and not escalate (and I applaud you for the way you refuse to sink to his level and use the Internet for revenge; not that it’s not a nice thought, just that it wouldn’t solve anything, as you point out, but only add to the problem). Still, I wonder how close I was to being one of those kids we see on national news who take all their frustration out on their “peers.” I in absolutely no way condone violence on such a permanent and horrific scale, but I can in my darker moments understand why some youth do such stupid, destructive things; sometimes escalating the violence feels like the only way you’ll be left alone.

    The one time the police got involved was in a similar incident when I’d shot at my neighbors with a pellet pistol since about six of them had ganged up on my friend and I, throwing rocks and pinecones at us until we retreated inside. After I shot one of them, their parents called the police, and while no charges were made (partially because my father’s knowledge of the law was good enough to point out that my neighbors had been participating in a “lynch mob,” a particular crime in the south from the long era of discrimination), I still think back about it and the effects that’s had on me.

    All forms of harassment, whether it’s bullying or a more horrifying, extreme form like what you’ve endured, are a plague in our society, and our protectors don’t do nearly enough to safeguard us from it. I’m very sorry to hear what you’ve endured, and in the spirit of your post (and the many, many comments that have followed), know that it happens to a lot of us, to varying degrees, and we can all sympathize with your situation.

  80. You go girl! Wish there was a way for your support group to “visit” this asshat and impress upon him the stupidity of his ways… As it is, thanks for speaking out and I hope other people being harrassed are inspired by your situation/advice.

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  82. well, how I came into this? clicking away on the internet during late hours before sleeping can be almost as bad as looking up stuff on wikipedia…

    I’m almost 40. I have to say this: I pity your generation. Living second cyber lives with cyber sex with cyber friends is no fun at all. Having 1000 cyber friends on famebook and playing some zynga poker with them on weekends is no fun at all. It’s a very forever alone situation in reality.

    It also seems to me the emo generation is a lot touchy. They seemingly don’t get sarcasm and have trouble with humor, taking everything too seriously.

    don’t get this as criticism on any of you in particular, just an observation from an outsider. cheers

    • Sorry.. don’t wish to detract from ACM (whom is one of the strongest PEOPLE I have ever heard of).. but to classify this or any comments herein as EMO? Sorry.. I am near 40 myself, and if anything the ‘EMO’ generation is too caught up in themselves to notice or care about anything of this magnitude.. probably the result of people NOT speaking out about things like this from OUR generation… ACM is brave, honest and completely correct in her assessments of ‘revenge fantasies’.. you sir, are not.

    • Many people have quite solid friendships built online. Just as people from past generations had quite solid friendships that spent a lot of time on the phone or even (gasp!) writing LETTERS to each other. (Yes, I’m old enough to have memories of running up huge long-distance phone bills to people I saw in person for a week at summer camp once.)

      Just beacuse other people’s lives differ from yours does not mean that their lives are worthless and ‘no fun’.

      And I believe you’ll find that most people who spend a lot of time online are in fact quite familiar with sarcasm, as well as with complete shits who, after they get called on their shitty behavior, whine that they meant it sarcastically.

      Not to mention that thousands upon thousands of harassing messages over long periods of time are hardly humorous.

    • Sorry to state the obvious here but harassment, death threats and stalking does not happen to youth only, it happens to, and can happen to -anyone- EVEN people in their 40ties with a great sense of humor.

      Your comment does not make sense.

  83. I’ll be sharing this post with my girls. And your tips on how to deal with this, too.

    So brave for sharing this! My prayers are with you. Stay strong and know that you have an army behind you; just look at all the supporters above me! O, in case it matters much, BBB sent me over. Added to my blog reader.

  84. i remember reading about your troubles on WL and your former blog, and the difficulty you had in getting authorities to help you because all the stuff was “happening on them internets!” seemed like such a nightmare. Although I wouldn’t fault you at all for going dark on the net just for your own peace of mind, the fact that you continue to write your wonderful posts, and also expose this turd’s toxic behavior is very inspiring to me. I endeavor to be strong like you! Please remember that you have Random People From The Internet cheering for you!

  85. I have never left a comment here before. But I want to thank you, Apple cider, for your words and emotion. For showing us what was truly a difficult time for you. And I hope that what you’ve written will help someone else who needs the wisdom and strength and hope that you’ve shared. From all these responses, you can see all the support you have, and how you have moved an entire community.

    Bravo.

  86. This low life is despicable and dangerous, I hope that eventually the legal system will catch up with him. You are a courageous and amazing person. If there is ever an organized response to this slimeball I would be happy to take part. In the mean time keep doing what you are doing and boosting the signal on this kind of pernicious abuse.

  87. RESPECT!

    I really feel for you, you are so brave!
    I’ve shared your story on facebook and engourage all to do the same.
    Hang in there!

  88. /respecful bow

    One more person who was sent here from another site (Totem Forrest in case it matters) who has never read any of your blogs before. Just had to add my small voice to the chorus of admiration and respect for you as a person for sharing your experience.. I also want to thank you for the link to your guide for help with Internet Harrassment. I’ve not ever known what to do when the women I’ve met in game had someone harass them so I will be studying your guide carefully to try to be more supportive in the future.
    Peace and Blessings be upon you and those you Love.

  89. I wish I could be as strong as you.
    I had a stalker in game who was a fellow guild officer and even though I had caps and recorded vent conversations of his harassment, my GM wouldn’t do anything about it.
    He was our glorious raid leader, you see, and I was simply the Warlock Class Leader. He would lead our guild into achievements while I would just teach others how to play a dying class.
    So I went to Blizzard.
    And Blizzard gave him a warning.
    He stopped for a while then came back saying that the reason he didnt like me (I guess his harassment was simple distaste or that was his excuse), was because I was a slut, who would send dirty pictures and use my voice to seduce anyone. He told me that I gave female players a bad name.
    Now, I know I have a sultry voice over the phone and on vent and I can’t help that. Its sort of my voice. I’m not trying to seduce anyone, I just am like that. I had multiple female guildies restrict their BFs from talking to me until they got to know me better and know that I wasnt attempting to seduce anyone, and I couldnt control the timber of my voice in that regard.
    I reported him to Blizzard again and didnt see any action taken, though that night he left our guild, recruiting all of the raiders with him. I was blamed for that, for not following through with my promise to him (I guess he had been telling people i had promised to meet him IRL) and I was shunned from the guild for weeks before management was reworked and we got a new GM, who would boot anyone who would harass me.
    Blizzard never actually took any real action against this guy, in spite of my evidence against him, which made me very distrustful of the moderation system in general.

  90. I remember you and I have always admired you for fighting. I have always admired your words, your way with words, and your ability to stand up and say what needs to be said.

    I wish that there was something I could say or do to help, to make it better, to send that trashbag packing, but I can’t. I know it wasn’t asked. Don’t stop fighting. Don’t stop speaking up. You are an amazing person and don’t you ever forget that – the fact that you’re talking about this and your experiences in general says as much to me.

    Keep kicking ass. Please.

  91. It should not be up to survivors and victims of this stuff to report it. Online game developers need to see harassment as something that it is their duty to prevent, and stop being so apathetic. I know it’s economically difficult, but so is making a game. Making it a welcoming place should be part of the design and not an afterthought, or (as so often happens) something ignored all together.

    You have my support.
    (Linked from the Borderhouse)

    • Here from Something Awful, linked from a thread about minorities in gaming.

      Wow. There’s sore losers, but this guy is sore AND a loser.

      I’ve had the luck to not have to deal with actively vengeful people in my online life, but many years ago I *did* have the misfortune of running with the most dysfunctional online Dungeons and Dragons group I’ve yet known to date. So at the very least I can imagine how sad and surreal the experience must have been.

      God knows what this guy’s problem was. I can’t imagine anything warranting this guy’s singleminded vendetta.

      I’ve dealt with some pretty mentally unstable folks before, but most of them were too wrapped up in self-torment to focus their belligerence.

      Whatever mental problems this guy may have had, he had a major attitude problem to back it up.

      Keep on trucking. Don’t let a little persistent algae prevent you from swimming in the pool!

    • For what it’s worth, I agree with this and if it’s not possible at all then I would like to see gaming companies take harassment reports far more seriously than they seem to. A victim of harassment should not have to fight tooth and nail to get a company to slap somebody with a three-day ban.

      Not thinking as clearly as I”d like so I can’t be as coherent as I want to be, but, yeah, I can agree with the sentiment here.

  92. (Following the Border House link.)

    This is beyond sickening. I can only imagine how much worse it must get when the “authorities”, whether forum moderators or law enforcement, don’t take this sort of atrocious stalking seriously. That’s “aiding and abetting” in my book and should be punished as such. You shouldn’t have to fight to be heard and supported. And you should definitely not have to deal with victim-blaming on top of everything else. No one should.

    And no one could deserve it, ever. It’s hard to find words for all this. I can only wish you the strength you need to continue to deal with this as best you can — and him a taste of his own rabid hatred. You have an incredible amount of strength to have come this far, and to bring it all out into the open. Maybe your bravery can be a light in the dark for others as well.

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  95. Just wanted to post and say you have a great deal of courage.

    Don’t let him get you down – and dating and enjoying life is not wrong … *ever*.

  96. I found this via The Mana Obscura and wanted to throw in my own words of encouragement. Nobody should ever have to go through, what you are. The person harassing you is lower than scum.

    Thank you for sharing your tale and for letting others know that they don’t have to just accept it if they find themselves in a similar situation. You have shown a great deal of courage by posting this here.

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  98. Wow. I don’t feel like there’s anything I can say beyond that.
    I am amazed that this level of depravity still exists in the world, but I am also amazed (in a good way) at the bravery that always seems to rise up and challenge the evil in the world.
    You, Apple Cider, should be proud. You’ve taken the thing that thrives in the darkness and shadows, and you’ve forced it into the sun. Now the world can see the monster for what it is, and hopefully it will shrivel in the light.
    Keep your head up. Do it for everyone who can’t quite do it yet. And never, EVER stop.

  99. I found this blog via Mana Obscura.

    Back when I still played WoW, I loved Empowered Fire. It helped me take my first steps into raiding and I recommended it to several friends. I was so sad when it stopped being updated. I’m horrified now to find out the reason.

    I wanted to take a moment to thank you for all of your work online, past and present. I wish you the best of luck in everything.

    • I love re-uniting with old EF fans. It is still a heavy burden on my heart that we had to leave EF behind because of this shit without nary a word but we were literally afraid for our sanity. This blog is hopefully picking up where that blog left off.

  100. …What an utter, sick, looney asshat. I’d use stronger words but I’m not sure if you’d want them in your comments.

    The sort of complete uselessness and pathetic small-mindedness it takes to obsess this badly over ‘punishing’ you for… what, having an existence separate from him? For simultaneously being female and possessing a mind of your own? Dear gods, you dodged one heck of a bullet when you didn’t pick him, and I say that even though I realise it’s been horrible for you. I’ve been harassed online and – briefly – stalked offline, thankfully by someone not nearly as nuts as this yahoo, and it was frightening… but how much worse might it have been if I’d actually gotten serious with the guy before I realised he was not-quite-right?

    Thank you so much for posting this, and for being strong. As Fletcher said above, ake ake kia kaha – forever be strong. We need strong women.

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  102. I also came here from The Border House.

    Thank you so much for posting this. I can only imagine how much of a struggle it was for you to find your voice to talk about these issues. I’m just starting now to see a therapist for past trauma myself, and having to find the strength to talk about things I never wanted to talk about or mentally acknowledge again — and reading this has helped a lot.

    It makes me frustrated that you’re still having to deal with this situation — that as powerful as the internet is, it can’t keep you safe from somebody trying to worm their way into your life for the sole intent to shame you and keep you quiet/miserable — but I’m glad that you’ve found the resolve to keep blogging/talking/enjoying WoW anyway.

  103. Hi

    Picked up the link to this from TotemForest. I’m normally one of those who read, think and go read some more elsewhere; not this time. I felt compelled to leave you a comment.

    I’ve never met you, I live across the ocean, I’m a different gender and a different age; I cannot empathise with you and I won’t attempt to try. I can only applaud your tremendous courage and fortitude in not only surviving this, but in writing it down in such a way as is eloquant, powerful and accessible.

    Someone else has said that you have a lot of good things to say and I would echo that; yours is a message that needs to be heard.

    Ben

  104. I forgot how I got to this page, but I really want to take a moment and say thank you, for writing down your story in such a heartfelt manner, and for the equally well-written and helpful guide for those going through something similar.

    I hope you can share your story with as many people as possible, perhaps compelling people into being somewhat nicer to each other, especially over the internet. Thank you for your courage, continue staying strong, my heart goes out to you.

    Ellie

  105. I saw this link on Mana Obscura. I think it’s safe to say that the comments here covered just about everything. So I’ll just congratulate you for refusing to be a victim. That’s a major step and you have courage to spare. I will pray that this shitpie one day turns his attention to someone not as gracious as you, and gets that which he deserves.

    All the best!

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  107. Wow. I’m sorry that I missed this when it was first posted, and sorry for the belated comment. I’m also so very sorry that this terrible situation has been forced on you Thank you for speaking out about it and sharing your story. I very much hope that this nightmare will soon end for good and the jerk causing you this pain will finally leave you alone.

  108. Reading back over some old BBB blogs that I’ve missed and found the link here. and all I can say is wow. You honestly give me hope. Your courage is an inspiration. I have made new and remade old friends from the time when my own crap was going down, but, I am flat terrified to make friends with ‘strangers’ anymore. Thanks to one person’s ongoing harassment. When the person decided I was no longer needed in their life, they went through great lengths to discredit me and anything I would say. I found out the entire time we were ‘friends’ they were doing the same thing with other ‘friends’, neatly and easily working to tear apart, or try to tear apart, bonds that were already there or just forming. I’m overtly trusting, loyal to a fault, so of course I couldn’t believe this person would do that…til it happened. After that came the harassment. Anonymous emails, random IM’s.. pictures of them and their “new” friends, ones they’d pulled from my side. My bills started to go up, because unfortunately I’d actually let this person into my home, into my LIFE… and now was fighting an uphill battle with everything. Then suddenly it just…stopped. And I thought I was done with it. But I wasn’t, not by a long shot. Because mentally it left a scar I can’t quite get healed. It’s been opened up again, but in a good way kinda, because another of that person’s victims has come forward so we’re healing together.

    But I still am afraid to talk to people. In game I hide behind my besty or try and pretend I don’t exist, logging on when I know damn well the rest of the guild won’t be on. I won’t raid, or even dungeon, because of that overwhelming fear of letting someone in. Of not being good enough, again. Because that’s what I was led to believe. If I was just “good enough” this would not have happened to me.

    I rewrote, erased and rewrote this comment so many times. That’s why I say thank you to you. I know how hard it is to talk, to say something, to DO something. The fact that I still talk to half the people I do is a small victory. We’re all united by this same person’s asshatery but the web was so thick that at the time none of us realized it til we were bickering amongst ourselves.

    That you can put this out there, that you can even talk about it, is a victory for you.

    And thank you. Thank you SO very much for putting words to the feeling. For putting your courage out there.

  109. Wandered over from Sheep the Diamond (very late, sorry). Just wanted to add my voice to the chorus of thank yous! You’re talking about the thing that scares me the most about blogging and tweeting. I don’t know if I’d be strong enough to keep doing either if someone treated me like you’ve been treated.
    Oh, and also have some ridiculous cuteness to offset some of the ick. Believe me, Athena would be cuddling with you through the internet if she could (and if you wanted her to)
    From Drop Box

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  113. Yeah, that sounds very familiar. Except all I did was ban a guy from a video game forum and he decided to take it very personally. And since we lived in different countries the law enforcement decided to each and every time dismiss my case and refused to send it over to the law enforcement of -his- country. THEY were infact just -waiting- for it to arrive so they could confiscate his computer. An attorney and £3500 GBP later (which almost made me bankrupt), a restraining order was in place which prohibited him from contacting me or making me identifiable by third party.

    He broke it at first chance. There’s still text with my picture next to it online giving out my full name and location inviting strange men to rape me ’cause I’m “asking for it”. And let’s not forget the Swingers website he signed me up for or the personal advert on an online newspaper he made in my name were he decided to randomly insinuate I was a pedophiliac.

    I had to legally change my name, partially for my own safety. I was the only one in my country with my particular name (small population) and any future employer or alike would see it if I was googled.

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